ERIN HOSIER & SOPHIA SHALMIYEV
Erin Hosier, author of Don't Let Me Down and Sophia Shalmiyev, author of Mother Winter: A Memoir will read at Mac's on Tuesday, April 23rd at 7 p.m.
Erin Hosier and her family belonged to a strict evangelical church in Bainbridge, Ohio, for the first fourteen years of her life. But Erin was a rebel of the eighties who dyed her hair with cherry Kool-Aid while loudly defending liberal causes. Behind closed doors, she and her family were "five mentally ill people at different stages of development, screaming and flailing hysterically like hyenas." At the heart of the family was her father, Jack, whom Erin remembers as "the first boy I ever knew, the first man I ever loved, and the first significant person in my life to die." But she and her family also knew his other side far too well--his lies and his quick-flame anger that they were careful not to provoke. But Erin never saw her dad angry when he was listening to the Beatles. Despite being seen as a sin in their church, rock n' roll became the bond that brought father and daughter together. It gave Erin the courage to ultimately stand up to her father and everybody else; the push to leave home and move to New York City; and the coping mechanism for all the pain along the way. Don't Let Me Down is the story of a young woman who tip-toed within the shadow of her father. It breaks open what women feel about their sexuality, self-worth, and the rites of passage they go through in adolescence. Above all, it's the story of growing up with one dysfunctional family and finding peace in another.
"With a soundtrack provided by the Beatles, [Erin] Hosier's memoir considers her Ohio youth and New York City coming-of-age... Hosier writes most ecstatically about music and keeps readers turning pages with suspenseful foreshadowing and subtle cliff-hangers."-- Booklist
Erin Hosier is the coauthor of Patty Schemel's Hit So Hard and is a literary agent with Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner. She lives in Brooklyn.
Russian sentences begin backward, Sophia Shalmiyev tells us on the first page of her striking, lyrical memoir, Mother Winter. To understand the end of her story we must go back to her beginning. Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev was raised in the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). An imbalance of power and the prevalence of antisemitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America, abandoning her estranged mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.
Now a mother herself, in Mother Winter Shalmiyev depicts in urgent vignettes her emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a woman raised without her mother. She tells of her early days in St. Petersburg, a land unkind to women, wayward or otherwise; her tumultuous pit-stop in Italy as a refugee on her way to America; the life she built for herself in the Pacific Northwest, raising two children of her own; and ultimately, her cathartic voyage back to Russia as an adult, where she searched endlessly for the alcoholic mother she never knew. Braided into her physical journey is a metaphorical exploration of the many surrogate mothers Shalmiyev sought out in place of her own--whether in books, art, lovers, or other lost souls banded together by their misfortunes. Mother Winter is the story of Shalmiyev's years of travel, searching, and forging meaningful connection with the worlds she occupies--the result is a searing observation of the human heart and psyche's many shades across time and culture. As critically acclaimed author Michelle Tea says, "with sparse, poetic language Shalmiyev builds a personal history that is fractured and raw; a brilliant, lovely ache."
"The lyrical prose of Sophia Shalmiyev's memoir, Mother Winter, splits open like layer after layer of an ornate matryoshka. With a mesmeric voice and scathing vulnerability, Shalmiyev peels her past down to its hollow core: the vacancy left by her absent mother. Across time and geography, Shalmiyev stitches together the diffuse pieces of her fractured narrative in order to find out what it truly is that makes someone the right 'type' of woman, the right 'type' of mother--especially as she becomes a mother herself." --The Paris Review
Sophia Shalmiyev emigrated from Leningrad to NYC in 1990. An MFA graduate of Portland State University, she was the nonfiction editor for The Portland Review and is a recipient of the Laurels Scholarship and numerous Kellogg's Fellowship awards. She has a second master's degree in creative arts therapy from The School of Visual Arts, previously counseling survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Her work has appeared in Vela Magazine,Entropy, Electric Lit, The Seattle Review of Books, Ravishly, and The Literary Review, among others; all with a feminist lens. She lives in Portland with her two children. Mother Winter is her first book.